Thursday, July 22, 2010


 You are excited to be attending a big conference- 
Learning tricks of the trade, and meeting new people to your network.

After dishing out a registration fee, made travel plans, and possibly a hotel or lodging expenses- You want to make the best of your conference experience so you earn back the money you invested in simply attending the conference. 

 Ask yourself- how much new business did your career get from the last conference you attended?  

If you don't know or you know you DIDN'T get anything from that investment 
 here are a few tips to insure your conference experience is the best possible:

Bring Along Your Business Cards

1) This is the one tool that will connect you with people- you should include contact information, such as a phone number, email and mailing address.

2) Choose a design that is professional- SIMPLE one sided, odd sized  and NOT glossy-*you can’t write on a glossy card.  

3) Get an email address that is not too personal or's better to conduct your business emails through an address that is formatted similarly to the industry standard, such as "first" Services like Gmail offers a great free email account that has a pretty good spam catcher- and flexibility.

4) Have your cards printed professionally. Remember you never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression and you can buy professionally printed cards for as little as $14.00.
You should choose a good-quality card stock  (remember no glossy cards) for printing and be sure to double-check your card for errors before and after printing.  I recommend, or


THIS is what separates YOU from everyone else at the conference. 

1) Compose an "elevator pitch / into statement"  to use when you meet new people at the conference.
 2) Include information such as your name, concisely describe what you do (something more descriptive than “I am a singer” or “I am a songwriter” this doesn’t explain who/what you do and what you need or are looking for while attending the conference). This speech can be geared towards different contingencies, such as one for meeting the decision makers another for meeting individuals who might be interested in sharing contacts.

3) Keep it brief. Your elevator pitch / intro statement should last no more than 30 seconds.
4) Practice your speech before you get to the conference. Use a friend as a Guinea pig. Watch their reactions to gauge the effectiveness of your speech, altering it to fit your purposes. 

 5) Attend sessions at which you can network easily with others, such as mixers or breakfast events, and use your elevator speech as an icebreaker.
6) More important than giving out the cards is GETTING cards from your prospective new partners so YOU have THEIR contact info. WRITE DOWN info on the back of their card that will help you remember who they are and what key points you discussed (something brief to jog your memory later after you have talked to 150 people!)


This step is often neglected and a main reason you attended the conference-
1) Get in touch with your contacts directly following the conference using a short email. Reiterate your pleasure at meeting them and follow up on any conversations you may have had. MAKE SURE you have included links to your website & appropriate social media sites if you need to direct them to the content you want them to see or hear.

2) Send a handwritten thank-you note to anyone in your new network that may have supplied you with additional assistance.


Creating you pitch and to professionally pitch and present yourself like anything else requires refinement and practice, If you are not cultivating good leads, or getting work following attending events let me help you!   “Providing business solutions for creative minds” so YOU can succeed in the evolving art / entertainment business community- I look forward to assisting you with growing your career and having success.

Individuals interested in making a difference in their lives and careers may contact Tamra at:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Are YOU the next American Idol?

American Idol Registration for Season 10 is being held in SF on August 17-18 w/ auditions scheduled on August 19th  @ ATT Park-  
Season 9 finalists Adam Lambert & Alison Iraheta both got their start at the SF Audition’s last season-

If you are 28 years of age or younger and a unsigned artist;  you MUST  have a plan, and air tight audition prepared to help guarentee a successful audition.
 *Show FAQ’s and information are listed on:

What are the secrets to getting past the initial round of auditions and onto the show? 

-Capturing a unique “star power”
-GET in front of the judges and through to the audition.

To do this correctly requires understanding the A.I. Audition process, preparation, lots of stamina, good humor,  And sticking to your plan.

Key area’s I  can assist  you with:

1)    Preparing for the screening and interviews before the  audition
2)    What to wear
3)    Selecting the right song to audition with
4)    Preparing for your performance mentally, physically, and spiritually
5)    Preparing your voice
6)    Rehearsing w/ Accompaniment
7)    Rehearsing on key consistently w/o accompaniment
8)    Video Performance Coaching
9)    Understanding the process from start to finish
10)  The 3 P's- Stage Patter / Performance / Perfection

In each city there are thousands that vie for a audition spot before the judges only about 100-200 make it to the judges evaluation  from there only 10-30 from each city to  actually make it to the Hollywood audition.

If you think you are the next American Idol?  You can prepare yourself for success with the proper guidance, practice, and coaching.

If your interested in gaining every advantage to have a great audition,  I have coached and prepared artists for showcase opportunities for SXSW, Folk Alliance, ASCAP AWARDS, GRAMMY’S & More…. contact me to help!

Tamra Engle is a performing songwriter, musician and consultant who offers strategic business solutions for creative minds to help them succeed in the evolving music and entertainment industries.
As a performing singer-songwriter whose recent album was on the final round ballot for the 2008 Grammy's in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category.
Tamra began her entertainment career as a studio musician In Los Angeles, Toured Nationally, and enjoyed placement of her songs on television and nationally aired ad campaigns.

-Helping others achieve success doing what they love.

- Insuring music education remains accessable to school age children.

- Ending Violence against Women & Children.

Individuals interested in making a difference in their lives and careers may contact Tamra at her website at

External References:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The importance of Artists having a plan, working collaboratively, and growing a global network
resonated with me this past week while visiting old and new friends and colleagues in Santa Fe New Mexico.

How often have you wondered?
How will I provide for me / or my family?
How can I make my life better?

As an artist how often do you work collaboratively with your peers?
or to help new comers to your field?
Deep down does the fear of not knowing where to start,
fear of your  competition, or  having to learn something new  stop you? (Your not alone!!!)

Let me share with you artists, some who come from the simplest means you could possibly imagine, many have lived and died trapped in oppressive deadly situations, from recent examples of natures wrath in Haiti to cultural wars in Rwanda, Kenya, So. Africa, and so many other countries. Despite a variety of incredible obstacles have organized, prioritized, and are realizing the success of planning, setting goals, and using their business plans to take CONTROL of their lives.

We were among an estimated 25 thousand visitors to the:

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
The 2010 market featured 147 artists from all over the world.
Over half the artists attending for the 1st time. 1/3 of these artists were member of a Artist Co-operatives.

To kick off what is now billed as International Folk Arts Week, the Museum of International Folk Art also exhibited the work of women's cooperatives from Bolivia, Rwanda, Peru, Swaziland, India, Kenya, Laos, South Africa, Morocco and Nepal that are represented at market.
Artwork included- weaving, bead work, painting, baskets, embroidery and other traditional folk arts.

The Santa Fe Folk Art Gallery of Conscience exhibition at the museum featured:
"Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives That Transform Communities"

Featuring 10 multinational - Woman’s Co-operatives which were selected for this exhibit.

Each Co-Op has a different motivation- whether it is preserving a dying heritage, sustaining the environment, providing a safe haven from violence, it is art that binds them however, the growing consumer market drives them.

These women have all learned to work collaboratively, creating products, develop distribution networks, and to decide democratically how to distribute or invest the revenues- whether it will be for group health care, or village to village water systems, or providing college scholarship funds for their children.

In recognition of the huge impact these co-operatives have the United Nations have proclaimed 2012 as the international Year of Cooperatives.

I am highlighting two Women that I met, who touched my heart, and whom I admire, respect, and honor.
Each represents the trans formative power of women working together to provide for their families, educate themselves and their children, promote equality, be stewards to their environment , or give back to their communities.

Gahaya Links Cooperative- Rwanda Janet Nkubana

In 1994 100 days of horrific ethnic violence Rwandan Hutu’s Murdered 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus, heaving hundreds of thousands widowed and orphaned. Neighbors killed neighbors, war rape was a systematic means of Genocide. Recovering from this unspeakable tragedy was impossible to imagine. Ephigenia Mukantabana lost 65 members of her own family, but has forgiven her families killer who is now imprisoned. For Ephigenia healing began when she worked side by side with the man’s wife Ephigenia a member of a basket weaving co-op in their home village of Sough Province. From it’s humbled beginning of 20 women the company has now grown to a network of over 4,000 weavers from across the country organized into 52 cooperatives.

Teaching her art to both Huto’s and Tusis and the balm that restored her shattered life “Art Heals a hopeless soul” & Though interaction you reduce trauma,. Weaving is our hope for tomorrow.

Umoja Uaso Woman's Group A Safe Haven from Violence; KENYA Rebecca Lolosoli -

The Beginning of this Co-op was not about art, it was about survival- Rebecca and 16 other homeless women in 1990 founded the village of Umoja Uaso as a refuge for other Samburu women who were victims of beatings, rape, forced marriage, and other violent domestic crimes. Rebecca shared with me privately some very horrifying personal stories of the brutal existence, she and others are working hard to change.

"Umoja" means Unity in Maa (the same language spoken by the Masai) Umoja is now a safe haven for women and girls fleeing abuse, it is also a education and training center to promote human rights, economic empowerment, and the preservation of indigenous art and crafts.

Today Rebecca and other Umoja leaders inspire women throughout the nation through workshops such as the rights of the girl-child, female reproductive health, HIV/Aids, violence prevention, and wormen's rights.

I encourage you to check out the links I have provided at the end of this article to read about these organizations and individuals- and if you or someone you know is an artist(male OR female!) that wants to sustain their families & themselves- or make your community a better place and need business guidance- I provide business solutions for creative minds to succeed in evolving competitive markets.

"Divided there is little we can do, working together we can change the world"
- TE inspired by JFK

List of Co-op's at the market:

2010 Market by the numbers:

2010 Folk Art Market

175: Number of artists (half of them new to market)

53: Countries represented

400: Number of applicants

28: Sponsored artists

$200,000: Cost to pay for artists to come to Santa Fe

2009 Folk Art Market

123 artists from 46 countries

23,400 people attended (14.4 percent increase over 2008)

60 percent of attendees were visitors to Santa Fe

Generated $1.95 million in artists' sales

$152,257 in gross receipts tax paid on sales

Total economic impact estimated at $15.7 million

Over 1,500 volunteers worked for the market

Friday, July 2, 2010

Making a living as a recording artist

Every week I talk to artists and every week when I ask individuals what they are interested in doing for a "living" they say "I am going to sell cd's!" or "I'm going to tour-

When pressed to see how they will pay for the tour, or simply pay the day to day bills
most reply that they will:

-Get signed to a major lable- who will finance my next cd

- Make money on tour PLUS sell cd's.

It must be hard for artists to realize that the old way of making music and MONEY has changed, I'm not going to discuss touring in this post, but talk about Selling CD's and how you make a living as a signed or unsigned artist.

At this writing there are only 4 major labels left - Each of them have MANY MANY MANY "boutique" labels under their "umbrella"

Sony Music Entertainment
EMI Group
Warner Music Group
Universal Music Group

With the precipedous decline in record sales, the "majors" do not write deals the way they used to. They will sign artists with a "360 deal".

I often joke that the 360 deal means that the label gets a piece of EVERYTHING within 360 degree's of YOU: Merchandise- Touring-Publishing-Songwriting shares- even entities you may create with your name and image etc.... These deals if your a major act like U2 and Madonna mean millions-
For a non established act they mean your chances of ever seeing a penny are slim to none!

ALL of the indy labels are also cash strapped, and will also want to have a large percentage of a NEW or emerging artists Merchandising, Touring, Publishing etc.
So why the big rush to be signed?

I know "back in the day" you lived and breathed to be signed since that was the only path to success.

So what are your options?

Educate yourself- Learn EVERYTHING about what is going on in the industry- Learn what the key points in deals are, (contracts have NEVER been written with the artist's interest in mind- There is a ton of information out there via, books, the web, recording industry organizations. This is the #1 way to help you hold on to what little money you may have and any of your future earnings.
*Madonna- from day one sat in meetings, read,questioned, talked and PARTNERED with collegues that helped her grow her "business" into the empire it is today- Jay Z- P-Diddy Beyonce- all corporate CEO's.

Are you Ready for the big time?
Do you have a strong foundation and a strong business plan? Do you have a big and growning fan base, and your shows are packed to attract the attention of the BIG GUYS?

1st honestly ask yourself these questions:

1)Is your craft the very best it can be?

2) Are you presenting something that is totally unique to the masses?

3) Are you working as hard and smart as you can to establish & grow your "business"?

I promise this work is on-going- you need to dedicate a part of EVERY DAY to being the BEST at what EVER your good at and answering YES to these questions above.

DONT RUSH to sign a contract!! *DON"T SIGN ANYTHING unless you have a entertainment attorney review and negotiate on your behalf. The lable's ALL have legal teams that have constructed a contract that FAVORS THEM, you need indivduals on YOUR TEAM to protect YOUR interest and favor YOU). You can't afford an attorney? Can you afford to sign away all of your future earnings? You wouldn't do this with a 9-5 corporate job why would you do that with your PASSION?


If you agree that you still need to educate yourself and get ready for the big time so you can make the best informed decisions about YOUR career and earnings.
You 1st establish a strong foundation then build upon it.

Do you still have your heart set on recording your cd and make a living from the sales of it?

Awesome, Let's take a look at the numbers from 2009:

Soundscan 2009 numbers (soundscan tracks records sold)

in 2009 there were around 98,000 US releases
out of those releases only around 700 of them sold over 5,000 units
and only 12 of them sold over a million copies! Wow! one dozen sold over a million.

What does this mean to YOU?
Let's do musicians math.

You make a cd-
Let's say your CD cost $15,000 to make (a conservative estimate to record, master, & duplicate a full length cd)

If sell your cd for $10 a piece on your website, & at your shows.

You need to sell 1500 cd's to break even on your recording and mastering!!!

What about digital download sales? in 2009 they represented 40% of the total market- so digital downloads are increasing and physical sales are decreasing. You still have to sell 1500 units in physical or digital sales, The sad reality is most new artists NEVER sell 1500 copies, the RIAA doesnt even start "counting" you in their statistics until you sell 1000 units. It's simply the reality of the market today!


If you want to get your cd reviewed and played you need to send out several hundred reviewers and promo people you hope will actually play your cd- (add the cost of mailing these cd's to the costs you will need to "re-coop".
Without adding in costs, like digital distribution, promotions, marketing, etc You still have to sell 1500 cd's to break even! Add to this equasion that on the internet there are 1000's of internet radio stations playing music for free (and the artist never get paid a cent) not a fast track way to make "a living".

Your CD in today's market is really nothing more than your "business card" you give them to potential investors and business partners to share your work, you sell them to fans to keep them coming to your shows, with digital press kits- having a EP or demo disc is perfectly fine and may make more sense- you still have something to sell, but consider the SINGLE mentality- many folks simply will not buy a full length cd, and now many emerging and established artists release singles all the time.

Fan's at shows will buy a disc but the sales numbers show that a majority of the record buying public download a favorite song or two- Record reviewers, booking agents, listen to Part of your song to see if they like you... so singles and short play discs are often less expensive options for new artists to consider-

If your like many of us, this doesn't change the fact that you live to play and create music!
and you may STILL want to do a full length CD maybe it is only for personal fulfillment reasons.

Indy artists CAN make a living- you simply have to be creative and play to YOUR strengths, and put together a plan that will allow you to organize your time, identify the things you are really good at, and the area's you need help with- THEN building that into a your plan to create MULTIPLE revenue streams- It doesn't change the fact that you must stick to the plan and work hard to educate yourself about HOW the music / entertainment business works. (so it can work for YOU). * I can help you do this!!!

For a New UN-established artist you have to prove that you have "earning potential" and to demonstrate WHY others should join your team to HELP you succeed. (this includes FANS, voluteers to help you at shows, investors in YOU)

You may think to yourself, I haven't done any of that & I have people ready to sign me today!

Imagine you are a a A&R person your job is to look for talent (NOTE A&R folks do not sign acts they only scout the talent) Which of these bands would you be interested in pitching to your boss (who is the person offering the contract).

BAND 1- Updated press kit, Fan outreach, catalog of material, packing shows consistantly selling lots of merch- growing fan base, opening for popular regional acts.

BAND 2- Debut artist a few demo's on myspace inconsistantly playing coffee shops and local gigs
Has had no touring or recording experience-

If you fall into the BAND 2 catagory- do you think the person begging you to sign a "exclusive" agreement is interested or have connections to make you a star? do they have a history of working with artists JUST LIKE YOU to help them be successful?
If they have never worked with an artist like you, how are they going to be able to properly promote and grow your career?
More often it is a situation where a artist or band inexperience leading them to losing what little money they are making.

Look at the super successful major acts, and even the emerging artists that are on your iPod-
They ALL have "other businesses" that allows them options to creating a "living". (see the Diddy's Madonna's, Beyonce's listed above).

Don't be in such a hurry to sign away your earnings- As with any "job" the entertainment industry is a WONDERFUL place to create, learn and grow- It IS however a business and right now a UPSIDE DOWN business trying to figure out how to survive in a world where music is free and plentiful!

If you have questions about your career, are interested in putting together a success plan, or figuring out what else you need to do to "make a living" doing what you love- let's talk!


Free downloads up cd sells down: